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More Stories - The Way We Were

Aboard the Queen Elizabeth
By Hilda Graham   

<<<...Previous  Back row, left to right: son Edward, Hilda, steward standing, Julie (you can hardly see) and Yvonne.  Front row, right to left: our daughter Linda, next my friend Sheila's son, then Sheila and her son Donny.  (Click photo to enlarge.)

So all was fine!! Well not exactly, the table was set with enough silverware as if for a seven course meal, with salad forks, fish forks and knives soup spoons, desert spoons and forks butter plates with individual butter knives you get the picture, I might add we were not the only ones who were looking at this array. The children were puzzled as we only had one seven course meal a week at home (I know you believe me) GRIN. I looked around and noticed others were also looking a little dismayed. I mean even some of the finest restaurants did not have these kind of place settings. Don't despair, there is more to this than meets the eye.

The way it was arranged there was a steward behind me who served my side of the table and Sheila seated across from me had a different steward who served her side. Finally we got the menu and were surprised as we looked at what an assortment of food was listed.

The first meal Sheila and I ordered the new potatoes, roast beef, baby peas, carrots, french rolls, and for dessert ice cream, we knew what our children liked so we all had the same thing.

This arrangement seemed to please our stewards. We noticed at the other tables people were ordering individually this meant more work for the stewards; I think ours decided this was not as bad as they had expected. We also suggested that in the future just set the children's places with a knife fork and spoon so as not to confuse them - they agreed.

When my steward served our food, they had a table behind and the roast beef was being freshly carved he placed the little potatoes and vegetables on our plates serving from our left side and then the beef, I must say I admired him not a thing was dropped he was very deft at his job. I picked up my knife and fork and then realized Julie would not be able to cut her beef, I laid my utensils down and reached over to cut her food so she could handle it better.

I sat back to enjoy my meal. To my surprise my plate had disappeared.

I looked at Sheila who had not been served and asked her what happened she was puzzled and told me that my steward had removed my plate, I asked her why she shook her head she did not know. I finally caught his attention and asked him why he had removed my plate?

"Madam," he replied, "Have you forgotten your British etiquette? When you lay your knife and fork down that way it means you are finished with that course. I was furious and told him I had not had a chance to eat a bite and I was certain if this continued I would starve to death before we got to England. He sort of apologized and returned my plate.

Sheila who was now being served told me I was a little harsh with the steward, her steward had not been aware of what had transpired with my complaint. We finally got through with our meal but were getting amused at some of the other people seated at the other tables around us, it seemed each was watching the other to see which fork or knife to use. Let's face it: not too many people have 5 or 7 course meals at home and some of them seemed very uncomfortable sorting out soup spoons fish forks butter knives and dessert spoons. They finally caught on but it was funny. Dinner, not problems, all was well. ...More>>>

Copyright 2005 Hilda Graham 

The Sneaky Kitchen
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